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This Day in Georgia History

January 04, 1798

William Dawson Born

To view a publication of Georgia laws by William Crosby Dawson, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Lawyer, military officer, and politician William Crosby Dawson was born in Greene County, Ga. After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1816, Dawson read law in Lexington before attending law school in Connecticut. Returning to Georgia in 1818, he was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Greensboro. In 1822, Dawson was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, where he served 12 years. During that time, he was appointed to compile a state code that included also laws enacted from 1819 to 1829. In 1834, Dawson was elected to the the Georgia Senate, where he served two terms. In 1836, he raised a company of volunteers in Greene County to go fight against the Creeks and Seminoles in southwest Georgia. As captain of the unit, he was recognized for distinguished service, which helped him get elected in 1836 to the U.S. House of Representatives to fill the term of Georgia congressman John Coffee after his death.

Dawson was reelected to Congress on two occasions, but in 1841 resigned to run for governor of Georgia. He lost the race in a close election and returned to the private practice of law. In 1847, the General Assembly elected Dawson to serve in the U.S. Senate. Here, he became a recognized and influential politician–both in Congress and Pres. Millard Fillmore’s administration. After one term, Dawson returned to Georgia and private practice. He died on May 5, 1856, in Greene County.